Sunday, April 11, 2010

Our NOLA Trip - 28th Wedding Anniversary Part VI

Unfortunately, due to being able to post only 5 pictures per post here, I’ve had to divide up the report. And since blogs are arranged how they are, you have to go backwards. So start on “Our NOLA Trip – Part I” and go from there through “Our NOLA Trip – Part X”

We saw a bit of the sculpture garden as we passed the art museum. We were too tired and hungry to really stop - but it looked a little too modern for our tastes, anyway. Mike: It wasn’t art.

We walked through the park (it is freaking HUGE) down the Bayou St. John through Mid City. Wonderful big and little houses. Little side streets beckoned and made me wish for a bike or a car, or better feet, at least. It was getting colder and colder and unbelievably windy by the time we reached the Parkway Bakery and Tavern:

Great little place that looks very much a neighborhood joint. And it smells fantastic. We grabbed a table on the enclosed patio area and Mr. Kim went to order. We ordered way too much food, as I knew we would. We (ok, I) have a tendency to do that anyway, but we had specific recommendations that we needed to check out! Through a failure of communication (on my part - I think my ears were still frozen) we ended up with both chili cheese fries and gravy cheese fries. Mr. Kim got the Surf 'n Turf Po'boy - fall-apart tender beef, fried shrimp and loads of gravy. Weird, right? Beef and shrimp? Sounds like some kind of ersatz Chinese combo. But it works really well! I can't say why, it just does. Maybe it’s the beef gravy, which would make the proverbial shoe taste good. Amazing stuff. The beef is more like a pot roast and really flavorful. The sandwich fell apart before he could get it unwrapped. This was basically a stew sandwich. No matter - it was fantastic: gloppy, gooey, salty goodness. I got the 'Peacemaker' Po'boy - fried oysters and shrimp. I've had better oysters, but that's quibbling - these were still very good and the combo was perfect. Mr. Kim ended up being glad that we got the chili cheese fries because the gravy on the others was basically what was on his sandwich. The chili was actually pretty good. But the fries and gravy was awesome - I probably ate more of these than anything else.

We walked back to Canal Street and caught the streetcar back to the Quarter. Went back to the hotel for a little rest. The plan was to go to Acme for chargrilled oysters, but we just didn't feel like more rich food. We napped a little, talked to The Child and wandered around Bourbon Street ending up, by total chance at Maison Bourbon - a jazz bar - and listened to a couple of sets by Jamil Sharif and his jazz band. A couple of drinks, pretty good music and an authentic feeling bar. We could listen to the music in the bar, but still hear the folks on the street and some other music coming from nearby places. We shared a gigantic and really good hot dog from one of the ubiquitous Lucky Dog street vendors (oddly, the only street vendors that we noticed in NOLA except for the artists and palm readers at Jackson Square).

Dessert was a visit to the Cafe du Monde where we shared an order of beignets. I had some really good, rich hot chocolate (it was still really cold). We were serenaded by a busker with a nice, mellow voice. He did my favorite hymn: Amazing Grace. Just a perfect NOLA night.

Monday, March 22 - Mostly Garden District
We caught the St. Charles streetcar out to the Camellia Grill for breakfast. What a cheap treat that ride is! It's like a bus tour - St. Charles is a beautiful street.

I liked the juxtaposition of signs on this cute little house:

Tattoos and law offices. How very New Orleans.

St. Charles is a broad avenue lined with bead-festooned trees and gracious homes, not to mention Loyola New Orleans, Audubon Park and shops and restaurants. At $1.25 per ride, this is a great deal (yesterday's ride up Canal was not as scenic). The Camellia Grill is a bustling place. All counter seating with smart talking countermen dressed in white and black like waiters in a fine restaurant. Our waiter was named "Sleepy" and he was a BLUR:

We shared a wonderful, crisp pecan waffle - big chunks of roasted pecans that actually tasted of pecans instead of just being some anonymous crunchy bits, like most I've had in the past. It would have been even better with real butter instead of the pitcher of ersatz they bring you. But I'm really just being picky here - this was a seriously good waffle. Mr. Kim had a huge sausage and jalapeño omelet and thick, creamy grits. The omelet was amazing - browned on the outside and high and fluffy on the inside. They cooked it on a griddle and roll it. The eggs are whizzed up with a milkshake machine in a steel cup and poured out on the griddle. I had 2 over-mediums, link sausage (really good) and great hash browns.

I was hoping to have a Sno-Ball this trip, but we are apparently out of season for everyone's favorite Hansens. So when I read somewhere that there was one just blocks from the Camellia on Oak St., I was very excited. We walked up and found the shop, but it was closed up tight with no hours sign in the window (a feature missing from many NOLA businesses). Disgruntled and grumbling, we caught the streetcar again back to the start of the Garden District walking tour:

The first stop was "The Rink" on Prytania St. containing the Garden District Book Store and a potty. I was happy again. As much as I loved the French Quarter, the Garden District is really my kind of neighborhood. Unlike the very urban (if OLD) French Quarter with it's houses right on the street, snugged up against each other and secret courtyards hidden within, the Garden District is big houses, on much larger properties. Lots of large porches and lovely wrought iron fences. We even saw a fence that was fashioned to look like stalks of corn:

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